The Reading Agency in the UK wants to make sure every person has the opportunity to experience the joy of joining a book club. Thus, Reading Groups for Everyone, announced by Ruth Harrison of The Reading Agency at Digital Marketing Event last month. The hope is to start reading groups in every outlet, including schools, colleges, and workplaces, plus expanding to embrace minority groups like adults with mental health issues. “The group aims to have a database of 20,000 groups by 2015,” says Johanna Brinton, London-based business development executive for OverDrive, who attended the event. “The initiative will eventually support a new national library offer for readers, and connect partners up to serve readers better and develop new audiences.”

Reading groups have several benefits, ranging from higher academic marks to entertainment and relationship building. They are social, enjoyable, and build language skills. The agency’s website states, “Reading Groups for Everyone is spreading the word and celebrating all the great things that reading groups, writing groups and book clubs offer.” Research commissioned by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) carried out by The Reading Agency and the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University (LISU) found that public libraries make a significant contribution to health and well-being in communities, particularly through reading groups and the other creative activities they offer.

Reading Groups for Everyone, which is run in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, is striving to be the go-to place for information about reading groups. It also wants to be a resource center for those who run reading groups. The agency will also be collaborating with the Booksellers Association to launch National Readers’ Group Day on June 25, 2011.

Join Reading Groups for Everyone to add your group to the list, and visit Content Reserve to add copies of book club favorites to your digital collection.

And let us know: What are the members in your library reading group discussing right now? Does your library help make title decisions? Keep us posted on creative reading group endeavors your library is promoting!

Brianne Carlon is a public relations specialist at OverDrive.

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